Provincial Palace of Zamora

Competition | Special Mention

Zamora. Spain | 2010

Diputación de Zamora

We were asked to suggest criteria for the restoration of a historic architectural site in order to recover a building from its functional obsolescence and provide it with a new use for the public. Based on this premise, the Old Palacio de la Diputación is transformed to literally express the idea of a sustained dialogue between the historic and the contemporary; a new building within the existing one that becomes a setting for conciliation, social exchange and cultural exhibits. 

In order to achieve this, the least valuable part, an addition built in the 60’s, was replaced with a new interior vacant space. A new entrance took the place of the old office complex, with a geometry that allows for a rational floor plan. This operation has generated a series of dualities between the old and the new elements, which substantially enrich the reading and experience of the building. Namely: a second interior volume of similar dimensions to the old patio, which remains covered with skylights; a second staircase of monumental character to reach the first and second floors; a second entrance into the building from the Alfonso XII street, which solves the present lack of accessibility. Three new elements –void, staircase and entrance– combine into one unit for restoration purposes, distributing the spaces for work, offices and a conference room on the new lower level accessible from the Alfonso XII street. The rest of the program requested for the ground floor –temporary exhibits, reading and consultation and reception– is distributed throughout the various rooms that remain intact. 

In the area of the Palace being preserved the restoration seeks to introduce a certain unity and simplification of its most important pieces: patio, staircase and rooms. The floor of the patio is raised to the level of the ground floor and its windows become doors. Only the flooring is treated in the remaining rooms and staircase and a dividing corridor between the Palace and the new restoration fulfills the functional modernization of both floors of the building by housing new rest rooms, elevator and support rooms. 

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